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Indiana Statehouse closing ahead of possible protests

January 15, 2021 GMT
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks during a media availability from the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks during a media availability from the Statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Statehouse complex will be closed to the public through Wednesday and state legislative meetings next week are canceled because of possible protests related to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, the governor’s office said Friday.

Demonstrations are expected at state capitols across the country beginning Sunday and leading up to Biden’s succession of President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The FBI and the governor’s office said officials have received no credible threats against the Statehouse in Indianapolis but downtown businesses have been warned about a protest planned for Sunday afternoon.

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The Indiana Statehouse and the nearby state office buildings will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, in addition to the scheduled closures over the weekend and Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the governor’s office said.

“The safety and security of our state employees and the Hoosiers who use our state services are always top of mind,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “After an evaluation with public safety leaders, we have decided to err on the side of caution and close the state government complex to the public.”

Legislative leaders have also canceled all House and Senate sessions and committee meetings for next week and directed legislative staffers to work remotely until they are told to return.

Holcomb said Wednesday that he had authorized the deployment of 625 Indiana National Guard soldiers to Washington, D.C, from Saturday until two days after Biden’s inauguration. More than 20,000 National Guard troops have been dispatched to Washington from around the country to assist with security.

Indiana officials didn’t disclose Friday whether any National Guard members would join police officers at the state government complex in the coming days.

The governor’s office said Holcomb’s scheduled State of the State speech will be delivered virtually Tuesday evening, and his regular Wednesday COVID-19 news briefing will be delayed until Thursday.

Holcomb said state services would remain accessible to the public online, by phone or in-person at branch offices next week.